Wilderness and nature in Northern Bulgaria (fifty shades of green)
4 days of wondering around a land of greenish hills, karst formations, blue waters and spring flowers in Northern Bulgaria. This area is packet with beauties from which we had to choose, here is our final selection: 3 waterfalls, 3 caves, 2 cave churches, one rock formations with fortress. And not to forget the route itself - relaxing and winding on top of Bulgarian mountains with breathtaking view as you get to see rows of peaks on the horizon. It was for me one of those special places where you feel there is no space and time, where you will remember a feeling of completeness along with that view. We also had the chance to do this tour in spring (on 1st of May) and I highly recommend to do it like this. All our roads were "guarded" by the bloomed white acacia with the view of a heaven gate and the smell of sweetness. The tour starts and ends at the crossing border between Bulgaria and Romania (Ruse and Vidin). We stayed at Airbnb houses, we recommend you to search places like this and try to enjoy the beautiful and peaceful village life. The inventory of the 4 days in Bulgaria: cave churches from #Ivanovo and #Basarbovo, waterfalls: #Krushuna, #Hotnitsa and #Emen, Caves: #Orlova Chuka, #Devetashka, #Prohodna, and #Belogradchik Fortress. Pretty impresive, ei? Wait until you see them.
We started at the entrance in the country so you can come from anywhere. At Ruse there is the border with Romania (Giurgiu) and there is a bridge over Danube River.
One week validity
Don't forget to put in on the right side of the windscreen (otherwise it is not valid)
Parking near the Basarbovo Monastery
If you don't find parking, go 100 meters in front and you will find a bigger parking there
[church / monastery]
Basarbovo Monastery is a cave monastery. I am not a big fan of churches and other religious places, but this is something unique. It is 35 above the flowing river below (Rusenski Lom). You have to climb up on the rock carved stairs.
This cave is in so many ways surprizing. As I added it to our itinerary, I had now idea what I was getting into. Fist of all the cave is impressive, but not necessary by the cave formation that everyone is looking for, nor by it's size or other expectation you would have from this kind of place. Let me tell you how I felt. The cave was shaped by waters from a long-forgotten sea that covered this area or by an underground river. All the rock structure and wall inside the cave are winding and curvy and wave like. There is no straight line there. Beacause the cave in composed of limestone and sandstone rocks, it is easy to carve by the water. All look like a waterslide that left this amazing shapes. It all reminded me of Gaudi, if I wouldn't know better i would say that Batllo House was influenced by this cave. You know Gaudis' style is inspired by the nature and organic shape. You will find that in Orlova Chuka, but constructed by a different architect, the supreme architect - water. I can not tell you how pleasing it is for the eyes to see these shapes and arrangements. It gives you a lot of joy and surprise. From time to time this shapes have colored light to put them in value. There is also another resemblance with Gaudi - his love for dinosaurs. There 2 spaces "carved" in the walls of the cave that are the negative shape of the dinosaurs that were caught in the rock. You will walk in this "spaces" and see the spine of the dinosaurs above you, where was the tale and the head. Pretty amazing might I say. The other aspect that I loved about this cave is the guide. It is not important that he does not speak English, he tried in all the other languages he knew (French, Romanian) to tell as the stories. And boy, he is a story teller like no other. He took the time to take us through the legends, the history and he wonders of this cave: the lucky spring, the zoomorph formations in the cave, he even sanged to us. When I exit the cave, "Oh, Champs-Elysées" was still singing in my head. To demonstrate the acoustics of the cave he sanged to us multiple occasions with his voice and his harmonica. This cave is a journey you shouldn't miss. I would also add some facts about the cave: - it was discovered in 1941 and opened for tourists in 1957 - the cave is inhabited by a colony of 12,000 individuals bats (14 species to be more exact) and they should not be disturbed - the cave is the second longest cave in Bulgaria (13000 meters), but you only get to visit the entry part. - the cave gets its name from the rock above "Eagle Rock" - the most impressive formation is the Great Stalactite which is 3.5 meters high and 50 cm in diameter
the temperatures in the cave are 14 degrees Celcius. So I recommend getting dressed because 45 minutes is a long time.
Entrance every hour. We went at 16:00. The last entry is at 17:00. The cave is cloesed between November and April. at some ponts you have to
Krushuna Waterfalls (Крушунски водопади) is a complex of waterfalls hidden in the forest of Bulgaria. They are the biggest karst waterfalls in the country. Due to travertines, the water had created terasses that now the water falls down like a fan or like a veil, giving the tourist the peasure of seeing such a natural rich decoration. It is a fairytale place and you walk in the green forest with multicolored flowers and this blue-colored water, cooling down from the Bulgarian heat. We visited this waterfalls a few year ago, but it was after a rain. The water wad dirty (coundn't see the blue like now) and the debit was a lot higher, so it was spectacular in this way, but I prefer the clear bluish water that we saw now.
Devetashka Cave (in Bulgarian Деветашката пещера) is a karst cave that is impressive due to its size and to its 7 holes in the ceiling that let the light inside and create special effects. Highs of the cave vary from 60 to 100 meters. Imagine a concert hall or a cathedral that is so huge and impressive, and everything works together: the light effect, the sound, the air, the vegetation that gives a special feeling of livelihood to the cave. The river (Osam River) and the light sustain the vegetation inside the cave and it gives it a special green color. The cave can be visited only in the grand hall, the rest is reserved for the bats colony that live here ( 30,000 bats). Even if now it is inhabited by cave creatures, this special place used to be lived by humans since the late Paleolithic (70,000 years ago) - they had pretty good taste in real estate even then. The cave was discovered in 1921, but the excavations begun only in 1950 when were found a lot of Neolithic artifacts (6,000 to 4,000 BC). The cave is know also by the names: Maarata or Oknata ("the eyes"). Is one of those places that will impress you when you are there but it can not be captured in photos.
The cave is closed in June and July because is the breeding period of the bats.